People swarm to shopping centres over the weekend flouting social distancing rules

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With stores slowly reopening, many flocked to shopping centres to do some pre-Mother’s Day shopping across Australia this weekend. Some states and territories have announced a relaxation of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions prompting many to excitedly leave their homes and resume normal activities.

Large crowds were seen at the entry to Myer at Bankstown Shopping Centre in Sydney’s west. Some shoppers said they had to cut their shopping trip short because they felt at risk.

A spokesperson for Myer said the company would “continue to work with centre managers to ensure guidelines are followed in the areas outside of our stores”. Myers reopened seven of its stores across New South Wales and Queensland this Saturday.

According to the Australian Retailers Association, the crowds were worst in NSW and Victoria. The chief executive Paul Zahra warned that those states may have had a “false start” and that businesses have not been provided with enough instruction and protocol before reopening.

“It’s great to see the obvious enthusiasm from Australians to get back to the shops after weeks of lockdown. That’s a really great sign for retail, and a very natural response as Australians see the lockdowns starting to ease around the country,” Mr Zahra said.

“At the same time we want a safe restart, not a false start. And we are still waiting of a green light from some state governments before the full reopening of retail.

“Our view is it’s in everyone’s interest to maintain social distancing so we can have appositive start to the easing of restrictions. So self-regulation is important — it’s a shared responsibility.”


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